- Category: Health and Wellness
- Published on Friday, 14 December 2012 20:44
- Written by Anne Ziff
We have, all of us, I expect, been filled with a horror today for which there's really no escape in our community. Of course, no one can make the pain go away, but do you know some way or ways we can "do the right thing" for our children, our neighbors, our selves?
I wish someone could help us all.
Dear So Sad,
I think we all indeed do share your feelings of horror and vulnerability. The unbelievable has happened, close to home, and indeed our hearts are broken. In addition, many of us are filled with fear. I echo your query: NOTHER violation. How are we to cope?
I shake my head, wishing I had a magic answer. I don't. But I encourage you to consider some of the following suggestions:
1. DO NOT allow your children or your selves to stay glued to television and other media. Repetition of the events, interviews of the survivors, and theories about motivation...all of these continue the assault. Do your best, not to deny or ignore this tragedy, but to avoid the repetitive assault of it. Instead, perhaps find other sources of entertainment than media for the time being. And DO keep in place whatever 'normalcy' you are able to provide this weekend—lessons, sports events, etc.
2. Physical contact can be very healing. Family hugs, gentle touching, one on one hugs of one another, tenderness...these speak volumes. Indulge in them. And take some deep breaths, too!
3. Allow your children to ask the questions they want to ask, but be sure you know what question they are really asking. For example, if your young child is a survivor but their best friend has been murdered, your child may ask questions about future play dates. Answer that, but don't go into a long story about death and tragedy today.
4. As a parent, you are grieving at the dire reality of this story. But do manage your own grief so that it is able to take a back seat while you attempt to understand the feelings and questions that your child is having. Listen closely to your child, and by all means, reach out to mental health professionals either through your own school, or pediatrician, or other available community resources.
5. Avoid being isolated. Do reach out to others in your community, friends and neighbors, but also with our first responders and their families—phone calls, notes, food, whatever you're comfortable with. We've come through Irene and then Sandy in our State, and now, this new, unspeakable tragedy is upon us. This is not a time to feel DISconnected, but rather to make efforts to connect. Please do reach out; it's an important part of taking good care of yourself!
And I hope we are each able to find the source of inner strength that will help us face and survive this tragedy.